The first impression you get of Reading when you visit is that it is essentially ‘miniature London’ — people surge in every direction at once in rush hour and you’re lucky to get a step to yourself on an escalator. The bustling high street was completed by combinations of pub, Subway and Poundland in a random order and after a good half an hour spent searching for it, it was unsurprising to find the Sub89 nestled cosily above the latter. Alas, my ‘country bumpkin’ was showing but with a whole evening of brutal death metal ahead there wasn’t much room for complaining and my luck would continue, in the form of a broken till when it came time for me to buy my round of drinks.
So with a belly full of free alcohol, we went straight into Scottish brutalisers Cerebral Bore. Ruthless riffs and sickening slams were the name of the game and after run-throughs of tracks like ‘The Bald Cadaver‘ and ‘Maniacal Miscreation‘, it was hard not to be completely mesmerized by the organised carnage taking place on stage. Guitarist Paul McGuire, clad in his traditional Devourment t-shirt, violated every nook and cranny of the fret board and vocalist Som commanded the crowd effortlessly. Cerebral Bore put on a hell of a show, marred only slightly by the standard twat at the back shouting ‘Get your tit’s out!’ after the first track. Yeah buddy, we get it. You haven’t seen a breast since you’ve been old enough to suckle on one. Get the fuck over it.
Revocation hit the stage with absolutely no warning. Frantic thrash riffs cut through the entire room and the future anthems of ‘Dismantle The Dictator‘ and ‘No Funeral‘ manage to pull off a level of ferocity and intensity that even manages to surpass the studio versions. It was mind bending to see how technically proficient every single member of the band was, especially when they broke out the instrumental epic ‘Across Forests And Fjords‘, but it would appear that I was in the minority when it came down to it as the crowd were incredibly sparse. Hopefully the turn out doesn’t deter from attempting more UK dates soon, as the few that were present got to witness why Revocation are one of the most exciting and promising bands around.
Consider me a part of the crowd that ignored Job For A Cowboy after Doom. Not out of any sense of spite though, some bands just get lost in the sea of releases that come out every year and when you miss something out once, it’s even easier the second time. But for a band that were once considered an easy target for the ‘real’ death metal crowd, JFAC sure sounded like a real death metal band. The atmosphere was suffocating as they ran through tracks both old and new and it was painfully obvious who the crowd had turned up to see, hence the ridiculous circle pits that spawned. Colour me intrigued.
Finally, Dying Fetus took their rightful place and proceeded to level the entire house without so much as breaking a sweat — a three piece with all the pushing power of a small scale earthquake. Newer tracks like ‘Subjected To A Beating‘ sat easily alongside classics such as ‘Fornication Terrorist‘ and while each member stood stock still, bound to their instruments and never matching the stage presence of any band before them, the sheer energy that the music provided was staggering. There’s a reason Dying Fetus are one of the scene’s luminaries and that’s because, when push comes to shove, they make some of the most compelling death metal around.
Sometimes there’s nothing quite like a death metal gig to make you feel alive. So, despite the relatively early finishing time, I leave Reading with a new Revocation tee, a deafening bout of tinnitus and a shit-eating grin plastered on my face. The tour may have left the UK by now, but mainland Europe still has the chance to catch as they tour well into October — you’d be a fool not to. Four great bands, all in one package.